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Economy in Brief

U.S. Retail Sales Slip But Spending less Autos Firms
by Tom Moeller  October 29, 2013

Retail sales and food services posted a 0.1% slip (+3.2% y/y) during September following an unrevised 0.2% August rise. A 0.1% uptick had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. A 2.2% decline (+5.1% y/y) in motor vehicle purchases held back total sales for the month. It was consistent with the earlier reported fall in unit vehicle sales. Retail sales excluding autos rose 0.4% (2.8% y/y) after a 0.1% August uptick. A 0.3% rise had been expected.

Sales at general merchandise stores gained 0.4% (0.6% y/y) after a 0.2% August decline. Sales at furniture and electronics stores also rose 0.4% (3.0% y/y) on the heels of a 0.6% rise. Sales of nonstore retailers gained 0.4% (8.9% y/y) following a 0.3% August increase. Sales of building materials and garden equipment ticked up 0.1% (5.8% y/y) following their 0.3% shortfall. Countering these gains was a 0.5% decline (+2.7% y/y) in apparel store sales after a 0.2% August drop.

In the nondiscretionary spending categories, food & beverage store sales gained 0.9% (3.4% y/y) after a 0.1% dip. Health care & personal care store sales rose 0.4% (3.6% y/y) after a 0.1% gain, however, sales at gasoline service stations were unchanged (-3.8% y/y) following a 0.3% August drop.

The retail sales figures are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics figures are in the AS1REPNAdatabase. 

Retail Spending (%) Sep Aug Jul Sep Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total Retail Sales & Food Services -0.1 0.2 0.4 3.2 5.3 7.5 5.5
  Excluding Autos 0.4 0.1 0.6 2.8 4.8 7.0 4.5
  Non-Auto Less Gasoline & Building Supplies 0.4 0.1 0.5 3.4 4.3 5.4 3.5
Retail Sales -0.2 0.2 0.4 3.1 5.0 7.7 5.8
  Motor Vehicle & Parts -2.2 0.7 -0.7 5.1 7.5 10.1 10.6
 Retail Less Autos 0.3 0.0 0.7 2.6 4.4 7.1 4.6
  Gasoline Stations 0.0 -0.3 0.6 -3.8 4.0 18.4 14.6
Food Service & Drinking Places Sales 0.9 0.5 0.5 4.2 7.2 6.0 3.2
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